Graetzel, professor and director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, is being recognized for merging nanoscience and photoconversion in his discovery of a new solar cell that is easier and less costly to produce than silicon-based cells.

These semi-flexible solar cells – known as “Graetzel cells” – convert sunlight into electricity using earth-abundant materials. Mass production of the cells began in 2009.

Graetzel holds more than 50 patents and has written two books and more than 1,200 publications. His concepts have spawned hundreds of research groups and multiple conferences.

Graetzel’s public talk will focus on his award-winning work. He will receive the 2013 Conn Prize medal and award during a black-tie ceremony and banquet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 18, at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel.

The prize, managed by UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, is named for the late daughter of Hank and Rebecca Conn, who are center supporters and the prize benefactors. The honor recognizes outstanding renewable energy ideas and achievements with proven global impact.

More information about the Conn Prize can be found at or by contacting Andrew Marsh at 502-852-8597 or


John Karman, III
John Karman joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2014 after a 20-plus year career as a Louisville journalist. He has served as director of media relations since 2015. In that role, he answers reporters’ inquiries and is the university’s main spokesperson. John was a reporter for Business First of Louisville from 1999 to 2013. There, he won numerous awards from the Louisville chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and American City Business Journals, parent company to Business First. John can die happy after seeing the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, although he would also enjoy another title.